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1000K4J Ulster Way Walk in Aid of Cancer Research


Over the Summer months Dermot Breen will be walking the entire 1000k of the Ulster Way in memory of his wonderful wife Jacqui and to raise funds for Cancer Research UK to support the fight against cancer.

Read Dermot's story: 

My wonderful wife Jacqui lost her life to cancer earlier this year. I want to help raise as much money as possible to support the fight against this awful disease. Jacqui and I loved the book "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" by Rachel Joyce, which we both read a couple of years ago before Jacqui was diagnosed with cancer. In the book, the main character sets off unexpectedly one morning to walk a distance of 627 miles to visit an old work colleague who is terminally ill with cancer. Sounds depressing, but if you've read the book you will know that it is ultimately an uplifting story. Last Christmas I give Jacqui a copy of the book's sequel. It turned out to be the most inappropriate choice of present in the history of mankind as it was largely set in a hospice! Thankfully she didn't mind too much. What she did love though were the words that I had written inside the cover of the book, "I would walk even further than Harold Fry if I thought it could save you". She knew that I was never a great walker and our walks together were always shorter than she would have liked because I generally ran out of steam much sooner than she did. So she really appreciated the sentiment behind my words.

Unfortunately, there was no saving Jacqui and she passed away just a few weeks after Christmas on 18th January 2015. However, a seed was planted in my head. Perhaps I could honour Jacqui's memory and help save others by walking further than Harold Fry. When I began looking at possible walking routes in Northern Ireland, I couldn't quite believe it when I discovered that the complete Ulster Way route is actually 625 miles long! The decision was made for me in an instant.

The challenge I have therefore set for myself is to walk the entire Ulster Way, but starting and finishing at Greenisland Primary School where Jacqui was an “outstanding” teacher for 25 years. This will add about 5 miles on to the route thus ensuring that I will have walked even further than the fictional Harold Fry! I plan to walk an average of about 15 miles a day and so it will take around 40 days to complete the entire route. However, it simply won't be possible for me to devote 40 consecutive days to the challenge - quite apart from the difficulty in finding the time, I really don't think my legs would be up to it! So instead, I intend to complete the challenge in blocks of days over the Summer, using a combination of weekends and leave from work. I aim to start on Friday 12 June and hope to finish in early September.

As I said at the outset, my objective is to raise as much money as possible to support the fight against the awful disease that is cancer. According to the most accurate forecast to date from Cancer Research UK, one in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives. So please visit www.justgiving.com/1000K4J to make a donation, no matter how small. Please also feel free to share this with family and friends, etc. As far as I am concerned, the more people that know about this the better, as every person reached is a potential supporter in the fight against cancer.

Incidentally, there is an excellent website at http://www.walkni.com/ulsterway/ for anyone who is interested in the details of the Ulster Way route. Also, it turns out that 625 miles actually equates to 1,000 kilometres, so my challenge has become 1,000 kilometres for Jacqui, or "1000K4J" for short.

Follow his journey on his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/1000k4j 

To support Dermot for his challenge visit: www.justgiving.com/1000K4J

For more information, click here.